ImageSpotlight: Moses!

I have limited time to write much other than to say I had another great outing this past weekend and I simply wanted to share one of the images I really enjoyed seeing after I downloaded my pics. This male redhead duck was fast approaching and with his flaps down, I knew he was going to land in front of me so I acquired focus while he was flying and started tracking, anticipating the minute he would hit the water. If you’ve ever watched ducks, you know that they hit the water hard then slide a few feet before coming to a stop. This, in turn, creates wonderful water action. The key to this type of image is to acquire focus in Ai-Servo (Canon) or Continuous (Nikon) mode and continue tracking while depressing the shutter just before they hit the water. Of course, the other key is to assure that your camera settings are set to maximum fire rate. My Canon 7D shoots 8 frames per second, which is why it is currently my go to camera when I am shooting action. The more frames per second your camera is capable of shooting, the greater your odds of capturing the perfect moment.

I cropped this photo to a panoramic format because this is the part of the image where the action and drama are occurring and this format helps emphasize what has just transpired. As for the moniker “Moses”…a friend of mine christened this image with that name. Whenever I give a photo presentation, I typically make a comment that an image should inspire the viewer’s emotions or thoughts. When my friend saw this image, she was transcended to that Biblical passage where Moses parts the red sea. Looking at my image now, so am I.

Until next time, keep shooting. –KEVIN

Moses.  Canon 7D | 500mm | f7.1  ISO 400

Moses. Canon 7D | 500mm | f7.1 ISO 400

ImageSpotlight: Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret. Canon 7D | 500mm | f7.1 | ISO 400

Reddish Egret. Canon 7D | 500mm | f7.1 | ISO 400

I posted some shots of this bird a few weeks ago. If you recall, I had good action/behavior in those images, but the light was quite dull and gray. Last weekend I made another trip to South Padre Island to see if I could capture this same bird in good light. I also decided to change my perspective. Rather than shooting from the boardwalk at the World Birding Center, I decided to wade into the bay and photograph from a lower angle. Was I glad I made the trip on this day. The early morning light was perfect and this reddish egret obliged by giving me many photo opportunities. I’m still going through that morning’s images. I am sharing this one with you because I loved the wing spread and of course, the prey in its beak, along with the action of the water frozen in time. If you go back and compare this image to the ones captured in gray light, it is very easy to see the difference that good light makes. With photography, it’s all about the light.

Until next time, keep shooting. –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Oil-Rendering of Pond at Yosemite

I’m extremely busy trying to wrap up my dissertation at the moment but I needed a break from that so I pulled up a file I took last summer and decided I’d have a hand at creating an oil painting in Photoshop. The original image had a cloudless blue sky that was rather uninteresting so I created the cloud effect in the software. I was rather happy with the way it turned out. I’ll get some more images up soon but for now….back to the dissertation.

Until next time, keep shooting. — KEVIN


A few from South Padre Island…

Had an opportunity to photograph at South Padre Island last weekend. I normally take photos from the boardwalk at the World Birding Center but this time, my friend and I decided to put on our waders and try our luck underneath the boardwalk. It was a cool 50 degrees (that’s cold to us South Texas natives) on this gray winter morning and we were hoping to photograph waterfowl and other shorebirds. The weather forecast called for the sun to finally break from the clouds and though it eventually would (very briefly) and provide nice light, we had not anticipated rain. The shower that met us was brief but it was enough to get our front element wet. Not having anticipated any rain, all of our cleaning cloths were in the truck and there was no choice but to leave our spot in order to clean the front element. As you can imagine, all of this commotion would have a negative impact on our photo opportunities from the boardwalk. After cleaning our glass, we decided to wade to an isolated patch of cover and attempt to photograph the pelicans and other small shorebirds (dowitcher, plovers, etc) that were in the area. While this was not our original intention, we were able to capture some nice images of these birds. I’m showcasing three of the photos below, all captured with a Canon 7D and 500/4.5 lens at an ISO of 640.

Until next time… –KEVIN

Click on the images for a better view.

130106_SPI__MG_5465_0013-Edit-20130106 130106_SPI__MG_5840_0367-20130106 130106_SPI__MG_5942_0457-20130106

ImageSpotlight: Mature Whitetail

I’ve been posting a lot of whitetail deer photos this season but hey, when the photo ops are good, I have to take advantage. My passion for photography began with a desire to photograph deer so as far as I’m concerned, I can never have too many photos of big mature whitetail bucks. This South Texas boss came through the brush on the scent of a doe and to my good fortune, paused just long enough to look my way and grant me this photo. He continued pursuing the doe through the brush, in an open field, then back through the brush for about 45 minutes. I was able to get more images, but rarely did he pause and look in my direction.

Until next time, get out there and keep shooting. –KEVIN

Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f7.1 | ISO 400 | +2/3 exposure compensation | overcast day

Canon 1DsMkII | 500/4.5 | f7.1 | ISO 400 | +2/3 exposure compensation | overcast day

Happy 2013! Have You Made Your Photographic Resolutions?

It’s hard to believe another year is upon us. The year 2012 was a great one and here is hoping 2013 is even better for all of you. If you are like most, you have made numerous resolutions that you hope will come to pass in the new year. I can tell you that like many, I have made a resolution to exercise and lose about 15 pounds between now and May. I hate to say it, but I think I made the same resolution last year and…uh, well no comment on that one. But, last year I also made some photographic resolutions and I did achieve those. For example, I wanted to master my camera in manual mode, and I wanted to learn to use filters in the landscape. Looking back, I would say mission accomplished. I’ll continue to improve upon those new skills but I am a better photographer today because I focused on learning two things that were on my photography resolution list.

This year, my primary photographic resolution is to master off-camera flash. Two primary applications of this technique for my style of photography will be: a) outdoor people portraiture, and b) hummingbird photography. I often find myself doing outdoor people portraiture and in the past I have relied solely on the ambient light. This year, I hope to up the ante by using my speedlights on location and the only effective way to do so is to get those flash heads off the camera. So, I am in the process of getting some translucent umbrellas, stands, and remote triggers to fire them wirelessly.

For the past three years, I have said I was going to photograph hummingbirds and each year I have fed them, watched them as they migrate through the area, and not once have I taken any pictures. In 2013, look for some hummingbird pictures on my blog. This is the year!!!!!

Other goals I have for 2013 are to: a) finish my nature website and get it back online, b) get my workshops underway, c) dabble with the movie function of my camera (setting myself up for 2014), and d) test the magazine market and publish an image or two.

So what are your photography goals for 2013? If you have never considered making any, I would certainly encourage you to do so. Be careful not to make too many though as it is better to focus on one or two and really learn those well, than to try and learn everything in one year. You will be surprised how much your photography improves as you devote yourself to learning one or two things about your camera each year. Before long you will be thinking less about the camera and more about the image and then your inner creativity will really begin to shine.

To me, the magic of photography occurs either in the mind or in the heart (sometimes both), so if I can capture a moment that touches another’s emotions, or makes them pause and reflect on the image, then I have accomplished what I wanted to as a photographer. To do this continuously and effectively though, I need to master my craft and that means setting goals to improve as a photographer and working to achieve them.

So this year, find that one thing (or two) about your photography that you have always wanted to learn, read up on it, talk to photography buddies, take a workshop (hopefully mine 🙂 if I have it going) and commit yourself to learning it. Then when you ring in 2014, you too can look back and say, mission accomplished!

Until next time, here’s wishing you the very best light in 2013. –KEVIN

Purchase Print Option

You may have noticed that I just added a tab in the blog called “Purchase Prints”. I am showcasing 25 of my images with Fine Art America and you can purchase my prints directly from them, either as a standard archival print, canvas, or metal print. Various sizes and other details, depending on the option selected, are available so feel free to browse my images on the link provided. I am currently working on my nature website and you will also be able to purchase a print directly from me through that venue but given how busy I am at the moment, I’m not sure when I’ll have that website up and running. In the meantime, if you see an image on my blog that you would like to purchase and it is not showcased with Fine Art America, contact me and we can discuss the image, size, quantity, price, etc. I guarantee all of my work and you can safely and securely purchase via PayPal so shop at ease and enjoy your natural artwork.

Until next time…. KEVIN